Thursday, January 23, 2014


It's your birthday.
Truth be told, you've blown out too many candles
You aren't excited about getting any older
It feels the same.
Though you appear nonchalant
You actually do care.
You care about other people caring...
About your birthday,
Of which you care nothing about.

You wait for the phone calls. You stare at your Facebook notifications.
You want to see that red square with a high number within it. 

Just like when you were a kid, you like this day, because it makes you feel special.

It makes you feel popular.

You want people to show up. You want to be the center of attention for a change.

You want to be rewarded for simply being alive. 

But as you've gotten older, the rewards decrease. Your friends start to have excuses. They can't find a babysitter. They have a 5 p.m. meeting and can't make it for cocktails. You aren't blowing out any candles, because no one bought you a cake. At work, your coworkers present you with a grocery store cupcake. It has a candle stuck in it. They sing happy birthday. 
You can't help but think...

These people are just trying to be nice. They are just following formalities. They don't even know what city I was born in. They never even call to say hello. They walk away when I approach the water cooler.

This has turned into the loneliest day of your life. You just want to feel special, not patronized.

You want to be reassured, that it's a great thing to enter another year of life. After all, there are people around you who know you exist and who want you to continue to exist.

But you aren't even sure that your so-called friends remember your birthday. 

You glance over your text messages as you sit at the bar alone. You wait for a coworker who was nice enough to do happy hour with you for your birthday. They never show up when you invite them out, but this time, they do. They show up because it's your birthday, and they feel that they have to. They show up ten minutes late with a forced smile. The bartender wishes you a happy birthday after your coworker mentions it. 
The bartender offers you a free chocolate cake for desert. 

For thirty years of life, you are only worth a piece of a chocolate cake? 

I wonder what forty will bring. 

Joyce Vincent, Dead 3 years...

Joyce Vincent, was a thirty-eight year old woman, who was found dead in her United Kingdom apartment in 2006. The only thing strange about it, was that she had been dead for over three years. The television was on, and she was surrounded by Christmas gifts that she planned to wrap. Christmas gifts for friends who never even bothered to check on her, for some three years while she lay dead. 

She was a beautiful Black woman. She had an amazing singing voice, had rubbed elbows with celebrities and was engaged to be married. No matter how beautiful and statuesque she was, she still couldn't convince people that her existence mattered. 

You see, Joyce could be any of us. Rich or poor, average or supermodel, we all get lonely. When we were kids, we assumed that life would be full of lively birthday parties. We thought, if mommy loves me, then surely the world does too. Well, high school arrived. We ate the apple and the fig leaf fluttered to the ground. We soon learned, that the friends we thought we had, moved on to a new identity. We discovered that birthday parties were no longer about us. People came to your party based on who was going to be there. You became an afterthought, sometimes not even a thought at all. 

Did someone really buy me a bottle of wine? Everyone knows I don't drink wine.
I guess everyone doesn't know, huh?
Wait, are they drinking the wine they bought for me as a gift? 
Do I have to force drink this wine?

When you left the comfort of home, where wall markings celebrated every inch grown, the world slowly became darker. People fail to notice your new highlights and no one keeps track of your height. So you parade yourself around, hoping to be seen. You go to house parties but unlike the childhood slumber parties of yesteryear, your friends have replaced you with alcohol and erections. 

No one is there to laugh with you, they are there to get drunk and to get laid. 

Formal dinner parties are just awkward. Everyone talks about their careers and your underwear keep riding up your ass. The conversations seem to be rehearsed and you'd rather be in bed watching Parks and Recreation. Instead, you are here, pretending to like her tilapia and tolerating your neighbors pretentious husband. Yes, to be a popular adult, you need to be fake. You need to tolerate. 

As you get older, your birthday means less to your friends, so it means less to you.

They become more interested in the party, than the person blowing out the candles. 

It seems that every year, the faces change around the cake. People aren't as consistent as they once were. 
You can't remember the last time these idiots sat with you on a couch, yet here they are...

With their smart phones taking photos of you for Facebook. 

It seems that social media has become you. This is where you hang out. Mary never responded to my text but I know where to find her. She's on Instagram in front of a mirror. She's more interested in the comments of strangers than remembering to wish you a happy birthday. 

She says to you on Twitter,
"Sorry, I've been swamped with work, but we are hanging out this weekend! Drinks on me!"

You wonder, why couldn't this bitch just call me? 

Come to think of it, no one ever calls you. When they do, they are lost some where and need directions or they have some hot gossip that they just have to tell you.

You could be bleeding out of your rectum, but they never ask how you are doing. They really need to tell you who they saw in the public bathroom. You don't care about the story. You don't even care about the man or woman lying next to you in your bed.

Why did I invite them over? I wasn't even horny. 

You just wanted to feel a warm body. Your apartment seemed lonely. It was just you and Nancy Grace. You and the cat who only looks at you when it wants to be fed. 

Another meaningless hookup and another phone call from someone who has a lot to say, but says nothing at all. 

You are lonely and you don't realize it. 

When you're in a crowded bar, you are lonely. It doesn't matter how many guys hit on you. 
Or how many women laugh at your corny jokes. You just don't feel that camaraderie anymore. The spark isn't there. The familiarity is gone, replaced with acquaintances with busy schedules and an intoxicated interest in your casual conversation. 

When you go to one of your friends housewarmings, you are lonely.

Everyone is so celebratory about their new home, but you don't give a damn. It's not your home. Your friend seems happy to see you but they only stayed at your birthday dinner for twenty minutes. They brought a date who you knew nothing about and now here you are, at their new home, staring at their fiance. 
There are so many new developments, that haven't been explained before hand.
You used to talk about everything together. Now you're awkwardly introduced as the best friend as you notice the absence of your picture any where in the apartment. His photos, however, are everywhere. At least he has a firm handshake. 

Fuck adulthood. People seem to come and go. When they are around, they don't even seem to be there. It's like you have to put on a show just to get someone to show up for the next act. It seems everyone is competing for each others attention, yet they are unaware of an Alexander Graham Bell invention. They are all comedians, philosophers and rebels on a website that makes them all feel important.

Every morning, you wake up with your pillow and you ask yourself, 

"If I didn't wake up, would anyone care to notice?"

You buy all the nice clothes to be noticed. You buy all the gadgets to feel connected. But all anyone notices is the clothes, not you. All you are connected to is web identities with short attention spans.

What happened to the bar where everyone knows your name? What happened to the coffee shop poets? Now it's just latte linguistics. 
There are no friends at Starbucks. Just lonely people on their laptops and tablets, feigning romance with hot overpriced drinks with fancy names.

We live in a world of make believe. We convince ourselves that we are popular because twelve people liked a status about the Seahawks. Sure people think you are funny because they said "LMAO" after one of your text messages. Would they be reeling in laughter had you said this in person? 

None of it is genuine. 

You go to work alone. So you turn on the radio or pop in your favorite CD. 

Maybe you ride the subway and you're surrounded by tons of people, the same people everyday, but you never talk to any of them. Your Ipod prevents you.

We are lonely by choice. 

Who would approach you while you're preoccupied with your touch screen?

The thing is, we are afraid to admit that we are indeed lonely. We are billions of lonely people, pretending to be popular with billions of other lonely people who are doing the same thing. 

You blow out the candles, everyone is clapping, even your sister who you've never seen eye to eye with. 

For that moment, you feel loved. You can't wait to upload the photos they took. People will see, that you are not lonely. That people showed up for you. 

You stare at the photo while you lay in bed. You read the comments from people who never showed up for your birthday because they were too busy. The people who were at the party, don't call you the next day. They don't hang out with you the next weekend.
The bartender doesn't remember you, but you remember how stale that chocolate cake tasted. 

Your sixty-five year old mother gives you a hug, she whispers to you,

Happy Birthday baby.

A tear falls from your eye as flashbacks of pizza and pointy hats fill your mind. 

When she dies, who will wish you a happy birthday like this?

All the lonely people

Where do they all come from? 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! So seriously true! Great read, as always! Thanks for sharing, Isayaah! :)